New marketing trend: Vending Machine Interaction

Knacki Football snacks: football challenge inside a vending machine _new trend of using Vending Machines as new marketing tools to create engaging brand experience

Vending Machine marketing trend – Knacki Football snacks :football challenge inside a vending machine


Vending machines were considered one-way communication tools: selling products. Interestingly, with new technologies, brands found many innovative ways to use them as new marketing tools.

Here are some examples of how brands added new twists to the vending machines:

Invisible vending machine

Coca-cola created invisible vending machines for couples only: The vending machines would show up only when a couple pass by. Their appearance would trigger sequences of graphic animations. After the couple told the machine their names, personalized coke cans would be dispensed. The video currently has 229,948 YouTube views.

Invisible Vending Machine #ShareaCoke

The campaign got people’s attention because:

  1. It was an unexpected good surprise.
  2. It targeted right audience ( couples) at the right time (St.Valentines).
  3. It created exclusiveness( only show up for couples).
  4. It delivered personalized free can of cokes.
  5. Love in contagious. Everyone wants to feel it and watch love related stories/campaigns.

Thinnest vending machine

The vending machine itself could be experimented. Again Coca-Cola is the leader in innovation: They created the thinnest vending machine in the world. It fitted in those places normally would not be possible, like in between two regular vending machines; in between salon mirrors and in between street benches. It perfectly reflected the product:  Coca-Cola Diet Coke. The video has 258,546 YouTube views.

Diet Coke Presents: The Slender Vender

The vending machine’s unexpected width really got people’s attention. The thinnest vending machine reflected the product they are selling: Diet Coke. From concept to execution, it was an innovative way of getting peoples’ attention.

Responsive Interaction

In 2014, Molson Canadian created some special vending machines just in time for July 1st Canada’s National day. If you want to get a free beer, all you have to do is to sing Canadian National Athens. From concept to execution, it was an all well-thought-out campaign: right time and right activity. Singing National Athens was not only patriotic, but also brought Molson Canadian Beer closer to all Canadians. The video currently has 2,043,308 YouTube views ( a very impressive viral reach).

Molson Canadian: The Beer Fridge – O Canada |

Lipton Ice Tea created vending machines in Cape Town that measured the body temperature and the heart rate. People got rewarded with free ice cold Lipton Ice Tea if they had a high body temperature. If you were not hot enough, then you had to work for it. The video currently has 36,200 YouTube views.

Lipton Ice Tea: TEA-MOMETER

When I first saw this campaign, I thought people were crazy: jumping up and down to get hotter in a hot summer just for a free sample. Then I realized the more important part was getting the experience: having a machine to respond to your body and react to it. I think this is the future trend of brand marketing. Besides getting free samples, people crave engaging experiences with the brands.

Social media currency

Pepsi created a vending machine that only accepts Facebook Likes to exchange a free sample. It was a really effective way to engage with consumers and spread the word on social media. The video currently has 128,746 YouTube views.

Pepsi: Like Machine

Virtual challenge

Another way to engage people is to set challenges. Pepsi created an interactive vending machine to challenge football players to show their best movies. Players can win a free Pepsi and challenge other players to get special prizes. The video currently has 110,949 YouTube views.

#Futbolnow Skills Challenge — Play the Pepsi Interactive Vending Machine

It is a trend for brands using screen based interaction to engage with customers. However, the execution of the video did not do a good job of storytelling. It needed to further demonstrate how players could challenge other players. The video did not explain clearly the connection between the screen based challenges and social media marketing strategies if there were any.

Physical challenge

For the launch of special Knacki Football limited edition, Herta Foods and BBDO Belgium shrank football field into a vending machine and challenged people for a match inside a vending machine. It was a great concept to connect the product (Knacki Football snakes) with people’s emotions: surprise and fun engagement with football. The campaign was well planned to maximize the #KnackiFootballs campaign experience. This video currently has 147,734 YouTube viewers.

The Football Machine #footballmachine

The execution was well-thought-out:

  1. The vending machine unexpectedly opened the door. It surprised people and gave a magic feeling. 
  2. The football legend Leo Ven Der Else was waiting inside the vending machine. That is a double surprise for the fans.
  3. The cheering crowds were dressed up in red and yellow, which created a stadium-like atmosphere.
  4. The random passengers had fun watching the game through a camera inside the vending machine.
  5. It is critical to broadcast live what happened inside of the vending machine making the experience shareable.
  6. The set up for interviews, pictures and videos at the end cleverly amplified the whole experience, which made people want to share on social networks. 
  7. Free samples were great rewards after all the hard work! 

The combination of new technology and creative ideas could push the old-school vending machine to another level. When people have fun interacting with vending machines, more likely they will remember the brands and even share the brand stories.
What do think about this marketing trend for vending machines?

See other posts:

How to ask strangers for donations? – Use emotion, creative ideas & challenge

Five  creative examples of using happiness to market brands.

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